One of a few FWD coupes still on the market Let’s face it, for our brutal Canadian winters, rear-wheel-drive isn’t the choice of the mainstream consumer.
Once again, I was fortunate enough to drive a very limited edition car again – this time the 2014 Scion tC Series 10. My tester was equipped with a proper 6-speed manual, a Silver Ignit10n exterior, and a dark charcoal interior. The 2.5 litre 4 cylinder churned out a class average 179 horsepower and 172 lb-ft of torque. With this coupe, however, the real question is: why?
Much like the redundancy between the xB and xD now, the ridiculously hyped, more rambunctious brother of the tC, the FR-S, has displaced it. For only an extra couple of thousand dollars, you get a much more upscale-looking sports car, which is more fun to drive, and even gets slightly better fuel economy. But I digress. For those looking for a somewhat sporty two-door coupe in the sub $25,000 range that also has a usable back seat, the tC does fit the bill. With Nissan discontinuing the terrible Altima Coupé, the tC is one of the few relatively roomy front-wheel-drive coupes left on the market.
To start, the exterior of the new tC is very polarizing. Unlike many of its competitors who are going in the direction of swooping lines and sculpted bodywork, the Scion stays masculine in its lines. The boxed out front and rear fascia, as well as angled back roof give the tC an aggressive almost unrefined look. This edginess does come across as unrefined to many, but I personally like the distinct styling cues, and am a sucker for any sort of hatchback design. As like the Series 10 iQ, the front and rear Scion badges glow blue, but seem a bit smaller relatively compared to the iQ. The gunmetal grey wheels further give this tC a sporty edge.
Moving on to the interior, the tC fits right into the rest of the Scion lineup. As mentioned last week, Scion has a knack for making interiors that look very aftermarket. The charcoal grey interior looks very stark, and the hard plastics that encompass you as a driver make it feel simplistic. Although many would see this as a downfall, for the individual that likes that boy-racer feel, the interior is excellent. The Pioneer sound system came equipped with satellite radio, auxiliary input, and USB connectivity. As a special factory installation, there were upgraded Pioneer speakers and a Bongiovi Acoustics DPS. The trunk, being a hatchback, has easy access and sufficient room for anything a buyer of this type of vehicle would need to carry. After all, your local contractor wouldn’t exactly be showing up in a Scion tC now would he?
In terms of overall comfort, the tC’s seats were quite comfortable, but lacked side bolstering that would be needed for a more robust drive. Even with this downfall, the seating position was great, and for a two-door sports coupe the sightlines were great. This is in thanks mostly to the squared off roof and hatchback style liftgate; the beltline was almost as high as the iQ’s. Space wise, the back seat is roomy enough to actually fit adults into, but not for longer than a trip to Tim Horton’s and back.
As would be expected in any sports car, the ride of the tC was firm, with the double wishbone rear suspension and MacPherson Gas struts up front, but highway driving was easy and would be okay for a quick jaunt out to Ottawa or down for some shopping in friendly Buffalo. The 6-speed manual and relatively torque 4-cylinder engine meant it had an adequate amount of pick up, but for a vehicle that has a curb weight in excess of 3000 lbs, did tend to drag quite a bit until it got up to speed. One disappointment though was the observed fuel economy. During my week with the tC, I managed a surprisingly high 9.9L/100 km in about 80 percent city, 20 percent highway.
So far then, the tC seems to just be adequate at pretty much everything. It has very decent ride quality and above-average interior feel, as well as a masculine exterior that is bucking the trend of modern, swooping lines. Why would anyone buy a tC? Well, there is definitely a huge percentage of the population that wants the sportiness of the FR-S, but with the convenience of usable back seats and front-wheel-drive. Let’s face it, for our brutal Canadian winters, rear-wheel-drive isn’t the choice of the mainstream consumer. The Scion tC Series 10 is actually the perfect first car for a university student or recent grad – Scion has established its target market well and good on them sticking to it.
2014 Scion tC Series 10 Gallery